As many head back to school and summer winds down we can’t help but think about the value of experiential education. Experiential education can be defined as a type of education in which educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience outside of the classroom and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, clarify personal values and develop one’s own capacity to contribute to their communities. More simply put; learning by doing.
Experiential education is at the core of Up with People’s on the road education curriculum because we believe it’s incredibly important in today’s world. While experiential education should take nothing away from traditional learning, a gap year or semester outside of the classroom can be incredibly valuable.
In fact, the Princeton Review recently outlined how experiential learning could launch your career. In this assessment they outlined 3 main benefits of experiential learning which include discovering what you love to do, learning to take risks, and learning how to talk about your skills. All of these benefits become tangible when a young person finishes their traditional education and heads out into the real world.
The core of Up with People’s global education program is based on a robust curriculum that not only enriches the tour experience, but brings key lessons to life through exploration, formal study, and action. Delivered in an experiential learning format, cast members leave their tour with a deeper commitment to lifelong learning, with the tools and abilities to navigate the complexities of today’s interconnected world.
Up with People staff lead interactive educational seminars, discussions and workshops that are designed to enrich each cast member’s touring experience. Facilitators utilize the cultural differences within the cast and the unique opportunities on tour to guide cast members’ learning. The curriculum includes simulations, group discussions, reflective questions and team activities to enhance the educational experience.
Experiential education can help young people transition from college to work, and community-service experiences especially prepare them to be more engaged citizens who live a life of service. But experiential education can also improve the quality of learning itself and increase the likelihood that students will be able to use throughout their lives the knowledge acquired in their studies. This does not happen automatically or easily, however. It must be purposefully pursued.
Perhaps the Up with People song Journey On says it best:
Journey on, Journey on
You can’t stay where you are for very long.
Don’t give up, find the strength you need to journey on.
‘cause in the end, it’s not just where we go,
But how we get there and who we’ve known
On this long walk, together we will journey on.